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London more religious and socially conservative than the rest of Britain

by Cara Bentley

A poll shows that 62 per cent of Londoners are religious, are more likely to practice their religion and favour sex being kept for heterosexual marriage. 

The poll, conducted by Savanta ComRes for the religious think tank Theos, suggests that Londoners may not be as socially "progressive" as they are perceived. It also found that London has a higher religious population, with a large proportion being from BAME backgrounds. 

People in London and in the rest of the country were surveyed and the results compared. 

Sixty-two per cent of Londoners identify as religious compared to 53 per cent across the rest of Britain. Forty per cent identify as Christian in London with the next highest group being Muslim.  

Londoners are nearly twice as likely to say that sex before marriage is at least sometimes wrong compared to the rest of Britain and are more likely to say that same-sex relationships are at least sometimes wrong compared to the rest of Britain (29 per cent compared to 23 per cent). 

The poll also found that nearly a third of Christians in the capital are from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background (BAME), compared with two per cent of Christians outside the capital. 

London Christians also pray more regularly and 38 per cent attend a service at least once a month, compared to 17 per cent in the rest of Britain. 

Christian Londoners are more likely to say that they will donate to a charitable initiative than non-religious Londoners and are more likely to say that they would help their neighbours with a simple task than non-religious Londoners. 

Half of Christians and just over half of other religious adults say that they are likely to volunteer regularly for a local charitable initiative, compared to 40 per cent of non-religious Londoners.   

Frequently practicing Christians are more welfarist than other Christians when it comes to tax increases, benefit cuts and a generous welfare system being a top priority for ensuring a healthy society.

Elizabeth Oldfield, the director of Theos, said: "The great success story of London has been its ability to welcome and accommodate opinions from across the political spectrum. The city still has the capacity to shock us - and this is one of the things which makes London one of the most dynamic, complex and interesting cities in the world."

Theos has called on the next mayor of London to work with people of all faiths, to recognise how religious groups can help with social action and acknowledge the multiculturalism of London's diverse faith communities.

Listen to Premier's interview with the author of the report Paul Bickley here: 

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